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Old 12-14-2004, 06:50 PM   #1
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Default replacing front brake pads on 2002 L-200 requires replacing rotors?

I took my 2002 L-200 in for its 30K service yesterday. A few hours later, the dealer calls me and tells me that the front brake pads are at 2.5mm and should be replaced. From what I understand, this is pretty believable given the mileage, etc.

However, then he proceeds to tell me that for this particular model, replacing the front brake pads requires also replacing the rotors. To clarify, he did not say anything about my rotors actually independently needing replacement -- just that the front brake pads cannot be replaced without replacing the rotors as well. I don't know much about car internals, but from talking to others, it sounds like this should not happen.

Can anyone confirm or deny whether the dealer is indeed telling the truth?

TIA

(BTW, the car's still on warranty, so I didn't want to take it to another mechanic)

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Old 12-14-2004, 08:14 PM   #2
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Default correction [Re: replacing front brake pads on 2002 L-200 requires replacing rotors?]

Ok, so I was somewhat mistaken. What the dealer is saying now is that since the rotors are made out of cast iron, they just wear down at about the same rate as the brake pads, so both needed replacing.

Still, this doesn't match what I have heard in general -- that the rotors should wear down slower than the pads.

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Old 12-14-2004, 09:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: correction [Re: replacing front brake pads on 2002 L-200 requires replacing rotor

Quote:
Originally Posted by UserName
Ok, so I was somewhat mistaken. What the dealer is saying now is that since the rotors are made out of cast iron, they just wear down at about the same rate as the brake pads, so both needed replacing.

Still, this doesn't match what I have heard in general -- that the rotors should wear down slower than the pads.
I don't know about any Saturn rotor replacement rules, but in general it is a good idea to replace the rotors with the pads. As rotors get thin they warp and cause pulsations, nasty. Its cheap insurance that you won't have to fool with the brakes again for a long time.

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Old 12-14-2004, 10:46 PM   #4
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Replace Your Rotors

You L200 has what is basically a Saab braking system. The rotors are thin and they do wear down quickly. This is standard on most European sedans. The sedans are performance cars and there rotors were not designed to be turned.

In contrast many American cars have thicker and usually harder rotors, which can frequently be machined or "turned", if they aren't worn too badly. These still have to be verified by whoever turns them to make sure that they are within specifications to be turned.

Saturn knows that most Americans weren't too happy with this. So they stepped up to the plate by paying for the rotors if the car is still under warranty. You will have to pay for the labor.

That's what they did for me. I would definitely take advantage of this and have them do your brakes. It will save you almost 200 bucks. You will never have a deal like this again.

Your next time you need brakes you can explore other options, like different pads that will reduce your brake dust and have less fade. Your front brakes do most of your stopping so they get changed more frequently.

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Old 12-15-2004, 12:10 AM   #5
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Default Re: replacing front brake pads on 2002 L-200 requires replacing rotors?

Before you actually buy those new rotors, check out this website: www.frozenrotors.com

Diversified Cryogenics has a process that cold treats rotors (or any metal part for that matter) with liquid nitrogen at about -300 f. The result is greatly improved rotor life and vastly improved braking.

Diversified Cryogenics will either treat your rotors for you, if they don't stock rotors for your car, or sell you a set of rotors that have been treated. Check out the website. It has a wealth of information.

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Old 12-15-2004, 11:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: correction [Re: replacing front brake pads on 2002 L-200 requires replacing rotors?]

Quote:
Originally Posted by UserName
Ok, so I was somewhat mistaken. What the dealer is saying now is that since the rotors are made out of cast iron, they just wear down at about the same rate as the brake pads, so both needed replacing.
From what I understand, a brake pad replacement on the car does not necessarily also require a rotor replacement. It all comes down to how hard and frequently you use your brakes. Because the rotors are thin, most people who are hard, last-second brakers, need new rotors becuae they've warped them from overheating. And, it they don't warp them, then they wear them down. And becuase the rotor is so thin, there's no reserve left for grinding them flat again if they get warped.

My '02 is at 39k miles and I was told that I've still got 60% of the pad remaining. I'm not patting myself on the back, but rather making my point clear.

I think what the dealer is telling you is your rotors are worn beyond salvage, although he didn't do a very good job.

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Old 12-15-2004, 11:08 AM   #7
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Default Re: replacing front brake pads on 2002 L-200 requires replacing rotors?

Here are the rotor specs. Anything .878 or under after refinish need to be replaced.

Specifications - Brake Rotor/Disc
Notes BRAKE ROTORS Brake Rotor Retaining Fastener 35 in.lb
Front Lateral Runout 0.001 in
Thickness Variation 0.0003 in
Diameter 11.3 in
New Thickness (Nominal) 0.98 in
Minimum Thickness After Refinish 0.878 in
Discard Thickness 0.866 in
Note: *Brake drums and rotors have a discard diameter or thickness dimension cast into them. This is a wear dimension and not a refinish dimension. Any drum or rotor which does not meet the specification values should be discarded.
Rear Lateral Runout 0.001 in
Thickness Variation 0.0004 in
Diameter 11.25 in
New Thickness (Nominal) 0.39 in
Minimum Thickness After Refinish 0.35 in
Discard Thickness 0.31 in
Note: *Brake drums and rotors have a discard diameter or thickness dimension cast into them. This is a wear dimension and not a refinish dimension. Any drum or rotor which does not meet the specification values should be discarded.


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Refinishing Brake Rotors

In manufacturing the brake rotor, tolerances of the braking surfaces for flatness, parallelism, and lateral runout are held very close. The maintenance of close tolerances on the shape of the braking surfaces is necessary to prevent brake roughness and brake noise.

In addition to these tolerances, the surface finish must be held to a specified range. The control of the braking surface finish is necessary to avoid pulls and erratic performance and to extend lining life.

When performing routine brake maintenance, rotors should not be refinished, unless there is a brake pulsation caused by the rotors or the rotors are excessively scored.

Scoring of the rotor surfaces not exceeding 1.5 mm (0.060 inch) in depth, which may result from normal use, is not detrimental to brake operation.

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Last edited by lostwages_ls2; 12-15-2004 at 11:14 AM..

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Old 12-15-2004, 11:11 AM   #8
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Default Re: replacing front brake pads on 2002 L-200 requires replacing rotors?

Had may brakes done at a local shop around 60,000 miles. They did not change the rotors but turned them. At 76,000 miles and the braking is fine. I guess it's what you have and how you drive.

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Old 12-15-2004, 03:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: replacing front brake pads on 2002 L-200 requires replacing rotors?

At 30,000 miles something is wrong. Too early to change brakes.

Looking at the specs for our rotors, we don't have that much to play with. With any other vehicle I would always recommend to change the rotors(throw away item) with pads. That's because rotors are USUALLY cheap for other vehicles and not the L-Series. Plus it's a hassle to get them turned and rotors are getting thinner. More likely to warp.

I would try to get them to do the job under warranty. If not, shop around on the web for parts and get someone to change them for you. Check www.rockauto.com . They have rotors as low at $14.

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Old 12-15-2004, 03:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: replacing front brake pads on 2002 L-200 requires replacing rotors?

According to Joe Cutrone of 6thplanet, rotors shouldn't even be machined at pad replacement unless they have serious scoring.

We followed his advice on our 2000 SL1 with fine results.

Perhaps these European brakes just self-destruct and fling dust in order to cope with autobahn speeds.

Junk in my book.

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Old 12-28-2004, 02:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: replacing front brake pads on 2002 L-200 requires replacing rotors?

My independent mechanic replaced my front rotors w/brake pads. I replaced my front pads on my 2002 L200at 62k. I wasn’t too surprised as this is standard operating procedure with my other car a Volvo.

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Old 12-29-2004, 11:22 AM   #12
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Default Re: replacing front brake pads on 2002 L-200 requires replacing rotors?

Since Asbestos went away and brake pads went to bi-metal, I've never been able to have rotors turned on any car. The bi-metal pads are a lot harder on the rotors than asbestos used to be so the rotors wear much faster.

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Old 12-29-2004, 12:28 PM   #13
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Default Re: replacing front brake pads on 2002 L-200 requires replacing rotors?

I've always changed the rotors every other brake pad change. I've never had rotors turned since I always do my own work.

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